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dominated the discussion and the debate, spending tens of millions over decades, influencing the elections. and for the first time ever, you have the american people passionately advocating for these laws that can make our streets safer. update you have somebody in michael bloomberg who is willing to try to provide the other point of view, to provide a counterbalance to the nra, in races like this and in other races. we did it in a number of races last november, won a number of them. and obviously, the mayor feels passionately about this and will continue to play a role. >> and what is interesting about the dynamics of the nra, the force in politics, the difference in preference and intensity. you can poll people on gun safety measures now, even, the question is, you call somebody up, you say you want stricter gun laws and they hang up the phone.
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there is a core of people on the maximum side of absolute freedom or freedom from restraint of any kind, right? the question is, is there a consistency with that same intensity on the side of the mayor, and gun safety? >> well, there certainly was yesterday in this district. chicago has seen a lot of gun violence, murders are up there. so this is obviously an issue of great importance. but this was the issue in the race. it was the issue in the race before the mayor arrived and obviously, we helped elevate the issue a little bit. and so you know, what happened yesterday, both in my opinion, both a bellweather and a referendum on guns, and i think people in washington are paying attention. >> howard wolfson gets tonight's last word. i'm chris hayes, in for lawrence o'donnell
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scalia calls voting an entitlement. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. today in the arguments over the voting rights act justice scalia called the act, the voting rights act a racial entitlement. got that? entitlements. the right to vote is like food stamps or medicaid. it's not actually. it's a right of citizens of the united states to vote shall not be denied to vote by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. that was ratified in 1870 under president grant, one of my heroes, actually. as we know it was put into effect after a century of poll taxes, literacy tests and other gimmicks to keep blacks from voting only because of the voting rights act of 1965. yes, it has a wonderful name as you put it.
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the reason is not the words or their spelling or the english language in which this is written or spoken about. no. it's about its meaning. that the united states congress will ensure that people get to vote in places that they weren't before. and that does not refer only to the segregations of the past. it refers to the people out there in state capitals today sitting at bars and poker tables shouting the latest gimmick. the electoral impact of blacks in tennessee. they outbid each other with glee with their latest legislative squirm to convert into electoral minorities by denying the blacks the right to vote. right, justice scalia. it's not an entitlement. we're talking about the vote. not some government benefit. pete williams is the justice correspondent for nbc. thank you for joining us. you're such an expert on this. i have to ask you to think about and speak about the commentary from justice roberts, the chief justice and justice scalia today. what was that all about?
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>> i think we can assume that justice scalia based on what he said four years ago that he was going to vote against it that it seemed clear today. justice roberts, we are watching him closely as well. he asked a lot of questions of the obama administration's lawyer here saying which state does a better job of registering and getting a turnout of african-american voters compared to whites? he said the answer is mississippi. which does the worst? the answer is massachusetts. the point being he says the areas covered by the law may not be where the problem is. that's what the whole argument came down to today, i think, chris. is the voting rights act passed and reenacted in 2006 still a fit? does it still cover where the problems are? now, the four liberals on the right said yes. it may not be a perfect fit, but it's close enough. they said the areas covered by the law represent about a quarter of the population, but account for more than half of all the successful voter discriminations lawsuits.
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the five conservatives seemed to be quite skeptical. not only scalia and justice roberts but perhaps the critical vote justice kennedy. he said the times changed. he seemed to be skeptical that the law has not kept up with that change. now, it's hard to predict, chris, but it does appear the voting acts right is in trouble tonight. now, what will the supreme court do? if they do look over the abyss and decide they are going to strike down part of the most successful civil rights act ever, they may not strike down the preclearance requirement. that if you're a covered state you have to get permission from the federal government before you make any changes in your election laws. they could strike down the formula, the coverage map. and send it back to congress. but that would be politically explosive for congress to say okay let's see. now which areas do we want to cover under the law and which areas don't and shall we start including massachusetts and harrisburg as you mentioned? should we include all the areas in the south? that's the problem. >> thank you.
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thanks for leaving that with us. that's the hot potato. i just spilled my coffee here. let's go with our guests now to talk about what this all means. we have julie fernandez right here. let's go to that right now. let's go to julie fernandez right now. former deputy attorney, assistant attorney general and eugene robinson. thanks for joining us right now. let me ask you about this whole thing. if they kill it because it's unfair to certain states because it includes older states with civil rights histories in the past, but they're basically killing anything. so what they're saying is it's not perfect, so kill it. isn't that a bit inconsistent? in other words we won't have anything left. >> it's very inconsistent. all the justices in the court acknowledge that section 5 is a very successful statute. and they asked hard questions about whether or not the coverage mechanism is still appropriate. but i think that we -- those of us working to protect the voting rights act itself, we have good answers to those hard questions
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about the continued pervasive racial discrimination that's going on in the covered jurisdictions about the flexibility of the coverage formula and the mechanism for deciding who's covered. and about how there are ways to address voting discrimination outside of the covered jurisdictions. i think the -- >> let's keep this simple. you're a lawyer. you're lawyering me here. >> i'm sorry. >> the bottom line is if you're black out there and you want to vote and you live in pennsylvania and they've been screwing around with voter i.d. cards or you live in florida and they're screwing around getting rid of sunday voting. what is killing voting rights going to do to those people? help them or hurt them or do nothing for them? don't you kill the whole spirit of the federal government jumping in on these cases? >> if you get rid of section 5 on the voting rights act, you get rid of the most effective tool we have to stop voting discrimination in this country. if you kill the voting rights act, if you decide section v is no longer needed, you're taking the heart out of the --
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>> gene, you grew up in south carolina and you're one of the states covered by this for good reason. >> absolutely. for having good reason. look. my view is yes it's still needed in the states where it applies. and it's needed in other places as well. because there are places where during the last election cycle and previous election cycles we saw what looked to be systemic attempts to deprive the african-american voter, to suppress the vote. in ohio, in pennsylvania, in other places that are not fully protected. >> i understand your statement. i'd love it to cover pennsylvania and other states. >> it doesn't make sense. out only makes sense -- the voting rights act is broad. it has a part that addresses in areas of the country. but this is a specific type of problem. >> anyway, justice scalia really said stuff today. he used, i think, charged language. referring to the voting rights act the perpetual racial entitlement. that's what he called the act.
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there's nothing to gain by it. this is not the kind of question to leave to congress. they're going to lose vote ifs they vote against the voting rights act. even the name is wonderful. then sonia sotomayor challenged scalia saying do you think section v was voted for because it was a racial entitlement? do you think racial discrimination has ended? there you have it. i mean, i don't know why scalia who's too bright to be doing this is giggling. why is he giggling using terms so loaded? >> because he throws bombs. you know, from the bench. and that's what he does. and he uses the sort of loaded language. and i doubt that he could defend his choice of words that it's a racial entitlement. he knows it's protection of a right. but he's going to vote to knock it down. or it certainly seems that way. i think he was being provocative. >> is it fair to say what we have is a crude instrument here that may not be a perfect fit because it doesn't address through section 5 all the cases like we've seen before like in
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harrisburg and tallahassee where they've been playing with voter laws, and texas. it doesn't effect them all but should we get rid of them? that's what a lot of liberals are going to ask. you're going to get rid of the only tool we have, section v. >> section 3 allows courts to decide if things are so bad in a state that's not currently covered, they can order that state or that county to have section 5 procured. >> how do they do that? >> they have to have a find -- >> which court could do it? >> any appellate court in america. it's been done 19 times since 1982. >> where have they done it? have they done it lately? whose been brought in? >> most lately in port chester, new york. but it's been in south dakota. two counties in south dakota. new mexico. >> what's holding up harrisburg? they keep playing these. >> i don't know. i don't know. if a federal court finds intentional discrimination, they can order a preclearance remedy for any jurisdiction. >> i hope this doesn't offend you guys. people say because of we have an african-american president, that
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proves we don't need a voting rights act. is that just prima facie nonsense? >> if that offended me then half my e-mail would have offended me. what more do you people want. you can't read it on the air. i mean, that's absurd. it's ridiculous. it was a huge step that barack obama was elected president twice. that's a huge step in our 400-year struggle with race and racial discrimination. but it doesn't solve the whole problem. of course not. >> and it doesn't solve the problem where the voting rights act is so powerful. police juries, county commissions, city councils, people all over the country. >> at the same time the voting rights act was being challenged at the supreme court today, up on capitol hill the work of rosa parks was being honored. there it is. a statue of parks will sit in statutory hall. best place to be. the first statue committed by
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congress in 140 years actually. president obama paid tribute to rosa parks. let's listen to the president. >> rosa parks' single act of disobedience launched a movement. the tired feet of those who walked the dusty roads of montgomery helped a nation see that to which it had once been blind. it is because of these men and women that i stand here today. >> well, her statue will be there forever now. >> it will be and it should be. we can't forget where we came from. we've been on a long struggle in this country to try and have racial equality, live up to our promise. the voting rights act is one of the key things that helped us get to where we are. let's not stop now. >> gene? >> i can't put it better than that. >> thanks for joining us. coming up, look what's happening to the public's perception about guns. our new poll shows a sharp increase. that's good. in the number of people that want to see stricter gun laws. that's the bully pulpit at work,
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i think. and today there was deep emotion and moving testimony from a parent of newtown massacre victims. we have to hear this, coming up. plus a lot of republicans want to see the big cuts that are due to hit on friday. and right now they're the ones taking the heat. if the cuts kick in and the crisis drags on, i think the public will blame president obama as well. and i think the republicans are counting on just that. a long, miserable haul they hope will hurt him. and the new mccarthyism. new tongues wagging and congratulating everything they did to stop and perhaps ruin the reputation of chuck hagel for awhile. even after it was inevitable. they kept it up just to screw up the government, hurt its functioning, and smear a man. those are the facts. we'll document them. finally kfc or chick-fil-a, bagels and croissants or doughnuts? are you what you eat? what you eat may be determined by who you vote for.
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isn't that interesting? we'll show the parallel how we go to fast food stores and vote. there is one. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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well, the republicans have put up the white flag on their opposition to the violence against women act. they decided their trimmed down version of the bill cannot pass. and it's a political loser. so they're now expected to pass the senate version of the bill and let the democrats have their way. the biggest issue was republican opposition to how the bill handled violence in tribal areas, believe it or not. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." the u.s. senate held its much anticipated hearing on banning military assault weapons today. just as it's become apparent that public opinion has begun to shift on the matter. a new poll shows that 61% of americans want stricter gun laws. 3 out of 5 want it.
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that's up since january and shows the power of president obama's campaign on this matter. today's hearing was unusually emotional with tears, applause, and one particularly heated exchange that came between senator lindsey graham who was acting inexplicably today and milwaukee police chief edward flynn. let's listen to this. >> just for the record from my point of view, senator -- >> how many cases have you made -- >> it doesn't matter. it's a paper thing. i want to stop 76 -- i want to finish the answer. >> well, no -- >> i want to stop 76,000 people from buying guns illegally. that's what a background check does. if you think we're going to do paperwork prosecutions, you're wrong. >> how many cases -- >> senator. if you would withhold just a moment, please. >> that's fine. >> please. no expressions one way or another. and let's keep this civil. senator graham and i just got recognized for civility.
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so i know he'll keep it civil. >> wow. but the most searing most of the day came when the father of a sandy hook elementary victim jesse lewis testified. neil heslin delivered testimony as he recalled saying good-bye to his 6-year-old son not long before the shooting. about an hour before we lost him. take a listen. >> i said good-bye, i love you. he stopped and he said i love mom, too. that was the last i saw jesse. as he ducked around the corner. prior to that when he was getting out of the truck, he hugged me and held me. and i can still feel that hug and that pat on the back. he said everything will be okay, dad. it's all going to be okay. and it wasn't okay. >> well, neil heslin joins us right now.
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thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> and i guess i have to ask you about your willingness i think as a public service not just an honor and love to your son but to the country. what would you like to see happen here? >> i would like to see many changes happen that would work effectively to prevent this from ever happening again. any mass murder. i believe we had seven of them this year alone. that's far too many. >> let me pick them off. do you think it would help to have a trained police officer in the hallways of these schools? i'll take the nra position at first. do you think that will be helpful? >> i agree. i think it would be helpful. it's not going to settle -- solve the problem. it's not a solution to the whole problem in complete, completely. >> we live in this country with so many guns. i think there are more guns in
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this country than people now. where do we start? do you think we should start with assault weapons that were used here? these semiautomatics, with the magazines where you can load up a gun with 30 bullets. where do we start? >> well, i think there's many places that need to be addressed. my view is a key factor in all these mass murders or mass killings was a weapon and a high capacity magazine. so-called assault weapon or like assault weapon. i think it needs to start with a ban on the certain types of guns and weapons. secondly a ban on high capacity magazines which is a main characteristic of those guns that had been used. i think background checks should be mandatory. but done efficiently and effectively.
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not necessarily on a state level, but on a federal level. i think mental health is a big part, too, that should be addressed. >> well, that covers the boardwalk there. let me ask you about this situation of coming down. how hard was it to come down? >>it is not easy to go anywhere or be some place and have to defend -- try to defend the reason my why things should change over my son's that's been killed in a massacre. it's very hard. it's very emotional. and i just keep reliving my loss, or the loss of jesse. >> well, that'll go on, sir. i can assure you it's going to go on. i hope you keep up your courage you showed today. thank you so much.
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neil heslin, father of the lost jesse. thanks for coming on tonight. i hope it helps. >> thank you very much. >> let's go to dr. william begg. he testified today at that very impressive hearing today. the emergency services director. he was working at danbury hospital the day of the newtown shooting. here's what he told the committee. let's take a listen, sir. >> people say that the overall number of assault weapon deaths is relatively small. but please don't tell that to the people of tucson or aurora or columbine or virginia tech and don't tell that to the people in newtown. this is a tipping point. >> doctor, thank you for coming on. i was at a hospital recently for my aunt and we lost her. but i was talking to a doctor in north philadelphia, it's a tough neighborhood, north philadelphia. and we were talking about gun control briefly. he said you want to see the results of guns? you want to see the impact of not having gun control? i'll show you. in any big city hospital today there are victims of gun shot wounds.
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tell us now what about a gun shot wound we don't get as people have just watched television shows that were lucky enough not to be around violence? >> senator feinstein wants to have an assault weapon ban go through to ban assault weapons. society may not know if somebody gets shot with a handgun, most people survive. when people get shot with an assault weapon, most people don't survive. while i can't reference the specific injuries of the children i witnessed and tried my best for in the e.r., each year i go to the trauma symposium in our state and they show the graphic pictures of those from our military who die in afghanistan and iraq. and those injuries from military-style assault weapons are horrific. if anyone actually saw those types of wounds, they would be horrified. and i think they would try to change their opinion. the data is really clear.
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in countries like australia and like united kingdom that banned assault weapons, they did afford change. it didn't happen right away, but the data shows in australia since 1996 when we had changes, there have been no mass murders. and uk only one. and previous to that, australia had 18 mass -- 12 mass murders. so we have to think that -- we have to understand that these assault weapons are designated for our military and our police. and there's no useful -- >> what is it about the ballistics? these weapons, are they dumb dumb bullets that flatten when they hit you and come out bigger on the backside of the target? or do they explode on impact? what do they do the assault weapons bullets? >> i'm not a ballistics expert. a handgun, the bullet goes in a straight path. but when somebody is shot by an assault type rifle, the bullet goes in and essentially explodes inside their body.
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the damage encompasses a significantly larger area and tears apart blood vessels and bones and tissues. in most circumstances are not survivable. there is definitely a difference between an assault rifle bullet and handgun bullet. >> i'm glad we continue to learn. thank you for doing your educational best here. because people need to know there's a difference between these kinds of guns and one is for hunting i would assume is not the latter kind, the assault weapon kind. that's for shooting up cars and canyons somewhere, perhaps. thank you dr. william begg. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪
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i'd like to thank eating right, whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first to the colorful congressional race going on in south carolina. there are 16 on the republican side alone.
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including mark sanford of course. and teddy turner the son of ted turner. turner is out with a new tv ad this week asking people to break up with career politicians. as you watch, keep an eye out for who gets prime real estate in a large picture frame and you will know who the ad's out to get. >> we've come a long way. i know it's been too much, but what's a few trillion? it was all for you. without change. i'll keep my promises this time. it'll be different. i'm sorry. for all the mistakes i've made. just give me one more chance. >> break up with career politicians. the right guy, teddy turner. conservative republican, economics teacher, not a politician. >> it doesn't take much guessing which career politician turner is talking about here. mark sanford. he's in the biggest picture there with the other photos taking less space. next, think your fast food
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joint has anything to do with whether you're democrat or republican? think again. first okay let's think ethnic here. bagels, croissants, or doughnuts. for democrats it's bagels or croissants. republicans prefer doughnuts. everybody likes doughnuts. republicans prefer chick-fil-a. democrats went for kfc. there is a political element to that one. ceo of chick-fil-a took a lot of heat last year for making anti-gay remarks. finally olive garden. it was close here. more democrats answered no it's not. 44 to 41. it was the opposite for republicans 43% saying they serve authentic italian food. 41 saying it does not. no consensus on whether they actually serve -- i love this. no consensus on whether the olive garden actually serves italian food or not. what a great predicament that is for them. up next, if the budget cuts hit on friday, public may blame republicans now.
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but don't expect president obama to emerge unscathed. remember what happened with the debt ceiling. they all get hit with this stuff. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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back to "hardball."
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♪ but the reality is that this is going to happen on friday. the president and the senate are not going to get a bill passed and to you and have your chamber approve that bill before friday. i mean, the sequester is going to happen. >> at this point, i would agree. it looks that way. but hope springs eternal. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was speaker john boehner last night in an interview with cbs. those dreaded automatic spending cuts will happen it would seem. and president obama was on capitol hill today to unveil the statue on parks. he's not meeting until friday night. winston churchill said there's two kinds of success. initial and ultimate. the question remains which kind of success republicans and the president will find. robert gibbs of course is famous. he served as president obama's first white house press secretary. and beat me on jeopardy. and michael steele is the former
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chair of the republican committee. both are msnbc in house thinkers. thank you guys. this is important. the public isn't liking this subject. i don't like it. i find the word sequester awful. it reminds me of the o.j. case. i don't want to hear about it again. but friday night there's going to be this dramatic sort of sitting together. the president is going to sit with these leaders. what can possibly get done before midnight when the act is already in effect basically? the government's going to stop spending $85 billion. >> i don't think anything's going to happen. >> why did the president call them down to meet? >> i think quite frankly they're starting the negotiations for what's going to happen a few weeks or a few months into this when people start feeling the real pain in these communities. i don't think it's theater. i think it's the beginning of how we're ultimately going to get out of this. nobody's going to move at this point unless republicans are willing to talk about tax revenue to make it more balanced. >> and democrats are willing? >> democrats are willing to accept spending cuts and do a lot more on entitlements and
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walk away from tax revenue. nobody's going to do that. >> who goes through the door first here, right? >> yep. >> why aren't leaders able to get through the door at the same time? >> because they're largely idiots. and the fact of the matter is they allowed this thing to get to this point and lose control of it, quite frankly. you hit the right word. this is theater. this is the president coming to the table on this after the fact. why not -- >> let me -- we all think we're smarter than politicians. sometimes they operate under scary conditions. i think john boehner is scared most of the time. listen to what ron johnson -- now, he's a tea party candidate guy. he's a senator from wisconsin. he told fox news earlier this week that speaker boehner's in trouble with his own party. if he dares to agree with anything to do with taxes. let's listen to ron johnson. decide if he's right. >> i don't quite honestly believe that speaker boehner would be speaker if that happens.
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i think he would lose the speakership. >> does he have a gun to his head? >> yeah, he does. look. we just raised $300 billion in taxes. >> on the top 1%. >> you raised taxes. go to the fundamentals, chris. i don't care if it's the top 1% or the bottom 50%. >> the top cares. >> i'm sure you do care. you're the top 1%. >> let's not make conjecture part of this show. >> this is the point though. that is an issue for a lot of the republican leaders in the house. >> so the word tax is offensive to them? >> it's not just the word tax. it's the idea we've raised taxes and we haven't gotten cuts in spending. >> ronald reagan put together a tax reform bill that lowered rates and got rid of a lot of loopholes. so since when is tax reform bad? >> it's not bad. the problem is we had a huge cut for ten years that created this spending problem that we are trying to dig out of. we're trying to remember the
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economic tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 that were supposed to create this fabulous economy. i'll let the people of america judge the efficacy of those tack cuts. you know, michael you talk about everybody stepping through the door at the same time. even as you say republicans are not putting revenue on the table. senator johnson's comment was the most insightful and important comment that will happen in washington this week. >> when he said boehner isn't alive if they talk taxes? >> because the republicans can't get out of this box. they do, they guarantee themselves one thing. john boehner would lose his job as speaker. and if someone says let's do more revenue and you're republican, the only thing you're going to guarantee is a primary challenge from the right and probably a loss. >> and i submit the other side of that box is a president who cannot put real cuts in entitlement reform on the table with his base. he knows he'll be in the exact same place. >> you think that's actually true? >> if it's not true, why doesn't he do it? where is the --
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>> i'm not sure -- i'm with you in a sense. i think he can. because i think big city liberal democrats even if they see a deal on the table, a lot will vote for it. i don't think they are in the same bind as the tea party fearing -- >> let's test that and see if it's true. >> am i right or wrong? would the liberals go along with it if there was a deal? >> so you're going with a -- >> yes, the president would. >> this is good. progress. >> here is my question. the president's put changed cpi, a better way of calculating the rate of inflation. >> explain. >> basically again, it's a better way of calculating -- more accurate way -- >> to figure out what's in the bag. >> it slows the rate of growth of medicare. >> here is my question. we know the president's going to put that on the table. tell me. boehner just sat with scott pelley. pick a journalist, anybody. what revenue are you putting on the table? >> he wanted to cut -- he wanted to raise taxes for the top 1%. we did.
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>> this is the game. this is the game. >> this is not the game. tell me what cuts have we made? what cuts have we made? okay. the president is for change cpi. where is it? i don't see the proposal. i don't see the bill. is harry reid presenting that? >> let's take a look at this latest polling. americans are nearly three times more likely -- rather than emphasizing the country by a five point margin they think obama is focused on the unity over partisanship. when we asked whether americans agree with what republicans are proposing to do nearly 6 in 10 disagree with the republicans. nobody is mother teresa here. nobody thinks they're sticking their neck out any further than they have to, but why do the republicans -- why is the brand of your party so sticky right now? >> because we have messaged this horribly. >> what's the message they're not getting out? >> it's been all over the place. >> what is the right message?
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>> the right message is to really -- as we should have said from the beginning focus on how to create jobs in the country and tie that to spending. we've not done that. we've not given a way forward that really lays out exactly what the cost is to this economy for the level of spending that we've been doing. >> i'm going back to -- >> can i make one final point? >> sure. >> why is it when we put on the table a serious discussion about cutting the spending of this country, all of a sudden that's partisan and we're not -- >> i know that. i think most of the people -- i do -- >> to be fair, michael, we have to do three things to get our fiscal house in order. we have to reduce spending, we have to do something on entitlements, and something else on revenue. i think the point of the sequester is this is taking a meat ax to the budget. this is not -- hold on. this is not identifying things that we know don't work and we should eliminate. i mean, this -- >> this was your proposal. this came from the white house.
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>> here's the game again. >> okay. >> you know why you're upset and he's not? you know why he's playing this game and you're not? because remember -- >> some people are serious about spending. >> and in the beginning carter benefitted. he beat teddy kennedy with this. in the beginning, they rallied behind him. as these things drag on, drag on for months, they blame the top guy. they just do. >> there's no game here. >> he says our message isn't right but now his message is let's blame somebody else for how we got in the mess. >> i'm not blaming anybody. i'm just pointing out a fact to you. i'm just saying. you want to ignore the role of the white house putting this in place. >> is the president doing everything right here? >> no. >> everything right? >> nobody is doing everything right. >> can you say the president's not doing everything right here? >> no, he can't. >> i just did. >> then do. can i hear you? >> i said nobody is doing everything right. everybody's going to get mud on their shirt because of this.
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>> i feel that. >> let's hope this isn't a game. let's hope this is a series of serious proposals. >> when they start closing down government spending in defense and those people in stores start closing, we'll see impact. michael steele, thank you. thank you robert for joining us. up next, republican tactics only mccarthy could love. this is "hardball," the place for politics. there he is. and he's back. he's got a new name and he's from texas.
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if you just can't get enough of the 2012 election, i know i can't, get ready to hit the bookstore this fall. the new "game change" is coming out. it's going to be called "double down: game change 2012." it's by mark halperin. hbo has optioned it for a movie on hbo. cant wait for the book or the movie. we'll be right back.
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we're back. chuck hagel's now secretary of deference. it's a done deal. but not without a campaign to smear him by guilt by association. first the false story of hagel's ties to a nonexistent group called -- there's no such thing. friends of hamas. and here was rand paul on the
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radio earlier this month talking about this as if it actually existed. >> let me bring up one piece of information that ben shapiro at breitbart put out today. which is one of the foreign funders behind senator hagel that he has not yet disclosed formally is something called friends of hamas. if that is, in fact, true would that lead you to vote against mr. hagel? >> you know, i saw that information today also. and that is more and more concerning with each day there are new things coming out. >> and then just a few days later senator ted cruz of texas questioned whether hagel had been financed by north korea. or saudi arabia. >> we saw with his nomination something truly extraordinary. which is the government of iran formerly and publicly praising the nomination of a defense secretary. i would suggest to you that to my knowledge, that is unprecedented to see a foreign nation like iran publicly celebrating a nomination.
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it may be that he spoke at radical or extreme groups or anti-israel groups and accepted financial compensation. we don't know. but it is a minimum relevant to know if that $200,000 that he deposited in his bank account came directly from saudi arabia, came directly from north korea. >> that is a joe mccarthy imitation if i've seen one. yesterday it continued with jim inhofe of oklahoma on the senate floor. >> isn't it interesting, though, that iran supports chuck hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense? >> dana milbank is a columnist for "the washington post" and howard fine is great. he's editorial director for "the huffington post" and msnbc analyst. thank you for jumping on this. i'm a student of that era. the way he looks, the way he behaves, the throwing out of names and bad associations
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>> and then just a few days later, senator ted cruz of texas questioned whether hagel had been financed by north korea. votes saying this is really going to weaken chuck hagel. >> smeared him good. >> very difficult job being secretary of defense. that's right. >> and crystal was out doing that. >> who made his job difficult? they've weakened not only chuck hagel, they've weakened the defense department, the united states. >> they did a little hot dog jump -- this used to be sort of sacred to protect our country. and when we have a secretary of defense, but here they basically smeared him right up front. >> he didn't get money from north korea. he is not running around with terrorists. apparently he is not -- >> may i say isn't it interesting that none of the things that they floated are true? >> none. >> none, zero. >> and they had two months to look for it. >> zero, zero. this was the worst combination
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of the worst instincts of the senate at its worst, and the worst instincts of the republican party and the conservative movement, all at the same time. and it was sort of a triple play there of -- that was shameful. and the fact is that it is true that there has never been a presidential nominee filibustered. certainly in this -- >> why did they do it again yesterday? i read their names, their name of infamy last night. >> it's what dana alluded to. they're not thinking about the country. they're thinking about satisfying various core constituencies. they're thinking about their base. they're thinking about showmanship for the interests of their base and not about the good of the country in this case. the guy is going to be defense secretary. he is going to be defense secretary. now he is defense secretary. if they really wanted to go after him, they could have asked what his plan was to deal with the shrinking defense budget,
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which is going to happen anyway, what is his geopolitical theory, what about afghanistan, on a whole host of things. they could have -- they didn't do any of that. >> i agree. let's assume they didn't do the right job. with the bad job they did, this guy cruz, there is an outside possibility that he doesn't know anything about the mccarthy period, that he has no idea, his staff if they're watching now, please show him movies of what mccarthy did, the way he sat there like this guy with that same look, that same attitude you see on his face, this guy is an evil person, and watch the kind of questions and innuendo that mccarthy played, and say my boss is acting like him. i don't think any of his staff even know who mccarthy is. >> ted went to princeton. presumably he might have read about that. >> don't leap. >> it's interesting to note that, okay, they went a little overboard inventing the friends of hamas and the charges of anti-semitism. you did not see him on the floor speaking.
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>> stonewalled, what does that mean? stonewalled means you don't talk. >> he is saying the administration has not coughed up the administration proving that in fact chuck hagel was in the pocket of north korea. >> ah. >> so he didn't get the information. >> so he is still pushing this line? >> he said what else can i say? i suggest he should come out there and say he is sorry. >> by the way, i agree with you on princeton doesn't guarantee your knowledge in the world. >> no. >> because sam alito is a graduate of princeton also. but i think ted cruz is a guy going to take a risk and say this is a guy with enormous talent. he is a very, very smart guy. but he is completely misused it in this case, completely misused it in this case. and i think it's too bad, because i think the guy is very, very smart. and by the way, i wouldn't want to watch all the mccarthy movies because i think he might be inspired by them. >> there is a smirk there and an attitude. >> yeah. >> i guess part of it might come from being a cuban-american. justifiable hatred of communism.
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i'm with them on that. they had their country stolen from them. but the question about how you treat fellow americans you disagree with politically. >> there is an accusatory style of high accusation that is mccarthy that this guy definitely has. no question about it. >> are we going to see a change or is this the way we're going to watch television the next few years, watching these guys go further right? >> watching these guys go further right. the democrats are taking notes here. remember what they did to hagel? let's hope they don't go down the mccarthy route. >> likely it look likes jack lew is going to get through. they're all going to get through. >> in fairness to history, some people think that's what the democrats did on robert bourque. >> george will thinks that thank you. just trying to help you out there. howard fineman. when we return, let me finish with a moment, a movement you're either for or against. i'm talk:00 gun control. you can't just be on the side lanes of this one. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ roundup
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Hardball With Chris Matthews
MSNBC February 27, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PST

News/Business. (2013) (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Chuck Hagel 6, Hagel 5, North Korea 5, Texas 4, Boehner 4, Washington 4, Pennsylvania 3, Australia 3, Princeton 3, Harrisburg 3, John Boehner 3, Neil Heslin 3, Roberts 3, Obama 2, Afghanistan 2, North Philadelphia 2, Massachusetts 2, Iran 2, Nra 2, Hbo 2
Network MSNBC
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Virtual Ch. 787 (MSNBC HD)
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Pixel width 1920
Pixel height 1080
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on 2/28/2013